Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – causes, symptoms & treatment

Say you’ve got a huge presentation in front
of all your colleagues; you’re nervous, you’ve got quite a bit of stress leading
up to the presentation. That stress is completely normal, and really—probably useful in certain
situations since it can make you more alert and careful. After the presentation’s over
you feel the stress start to fade away, right? Well…for 3% of the population, the stress
doesn’t go away, and maybe that stress isn’t even brought on by a specific event and is
always just sort of always there. Either way, at this point it’s considered to be anxiety.
That anxiety might even get worse over time, and causes things like chest pains or nightmares. Sometimes the anxiety’s so severe that it
causes someone to be anxious about leaving the house or doing everyday things, like going
to work or school. This anxiety may be a sign of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, sometimes
shortened to GAD. GAD’s characterized by excessive, persistent, and unreasonable anxiety
about everyday things, like money, family, work, and relationships; even sometimes the
thought of getting through the day causes anxiety. If the anxiety’s persistent, then
it doesn’t seem to go away, if it’s excessive, it’s usually more than someone else might
feel, and if it’s unreasonable, they probably shouldn’t have a reason to feel anxious
about it. People who have GAD might even understand
that their anxieties are excessive and unreasonable, but they feel it’s out of their control
and don’t quite know how to stop it. People with severe GAD might be completely debilitated
and have trouble with the simplest daily activities, or they might be only mildly affected and
be able to function socially and hold down a job. Sometimes the feelings might worsen
or improve over time. In addition to having feelings of worries
and anxiety, other symptoms include edginess and restlessness, difficulty concentrating
or feeling like the mind just goes blank, and also irritability. These psychological
symptoms can also lead to physical manifestations of symptoms like digestive problems from eating
more or eating less. They might also have muscle aches and soreness from carrying tension
in their muscles. Finally difficulty sleeping is a really common symptom that can have a
serious impact on physical well-being, since the body’s not resting and can lead to issues
of chronic fatigue. Although the decision that someone’s worry
is excessive and unreasonable has a subjective quality, diagnosing GAD is aided by the diagnostic
and statistical manual of mental disorders, or DSM-V, this manual gives a list of criteria
to meet in order to be diagnosed with GAD. First, the excessive worry and anxiety has
to have been present for more days than not over the course of 6 months. In other words,
a person should have the symptoms of excess or unreasonable worry on 90 or more days out
of 180 days. Generally, people can’t quantify or track their feelings in that way, so again,
this is meant to offer a general guideline, right? Okay second—the person finds it hard
to control their anxiety, meaning that they have a hard time calming themselves or “self-soothing”
to help themselves regain control over their feelings. Third, an adult must have three
or more of the symptoms listed previously. In children though, typically defined as “school-age”,
so between 6 and 18 years old, only one symptom is needed for the diagnosis of GAD. Another
criteria is that the anxiety causes impairment in important daily activities like school
or work. For example, they might miss deadlines or find it difficult to even go to work because
of their symptoms. Fifth, the symptoms are not attributable to the physiologic effects
of a drugs or medication, or due to a medical condition like hyperthyroidism which creates
an excess of thyroid hormone, which can sometimes cause symptoms of anxiety and worry. Finally,
their anxiety isn’t better explained by another mental disorder like social phobia
or panic disorder. Just like a lot of mental disorders, it’s
unclear exactly why some individuals develop generalized anxiety disorder, but it’s thought
to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, as it seems to run in families. It
also has been shown to be twice as prevalent in females than in males. Treating GAD, like many mental disorders,
may involve psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. If it’s psychotherapy,
cognitive behavior therapy has been effective since it teaches the patient to think and
behave in different ways, and react differently to situations that would usually causes anxiety
and worry. Medications like benzodiazepines or antidepressants might be prescribed as
well, benzodiazepines are a type of psychoactive drug that have a relaxing and calming effect.
Antidepressants might also be prescribed, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors,
or SSRIs, which regulate the serotonin levels in the brain and help elevate mood. Even though
both medications and cognitive behavior therapy have similar effectiveness in the short-term,
cognitive behavior therapy has major advantages over medication in the long term, due to unwanted
effects of the medications like tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal.

100 thoughts on “Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – causes, symptoms & treatment

  1. I have had this since I was a child. It started with simple and very specific things like looking over at my parents gas meter when they're driving and say that I would be severely worried about being stuck even though it would never happen it would always come back. I would tell my father that I'm worried but don't know why and would bite my nails constantly. I still do it to this day.

  2. So glad I got put on medication. I got so sick of having anxiety attacks everyday that I finally went to a doctor and got my anxiety officially diagnosed and treated. I went from being very introverted to extremely extroverted the difference is like night and day. Glad I didn't do therapy either since sometimes I am literally perfectly fine mentally, but my body doesn't calm its shit after an anxiety attack gets triggered. It was hindering my life so goddamn much I'm hoping I never feel those horrible daily anxiety attacks that last all day again.

  3. I’m wondering if I have it cause I always break down and start crying in fear of the future thinking that I’m gonna fell.Every single time someone talks to me about college or something like that I cry I’ve been like that.I think it’s because of my dad telling me to go to college and stuff like that and it stresses me out.Not only do I cry over that I cry over simple things like when I don’t understand something in school I’d start crying.Theres many more examples but that’s what I have on the top of my head.And it can’t be hormones because I’ve always been doing this

  4. Does anyone els lose control of there thoughts while trying to sleep and see strange things that not really terrify you but just make you restless?

  5. I have anxiety everyday all the time, after i said or Done a special thing i think it threw and is like ”why did i say that why did i do that” and i cry every night because its so fucking annoying. I don’t know why i feel like this. But i hate myself for it

  6. i was diagnosed with GAD recently it’s really hard to deal with ive always had bad anxiety but i had this intrusive thought and it scared me (still does) i’ve been worrying about it and other things for the last idk how many months it’s really made me depressed bc i don’t feel like myself i’m constantly on edge and scared and anxious i go to therapy and it’s a bit better now but it’s hard to do things cause i feel like it’s never going away

  7. Im in my third year of college and i still get so afraid of going to my classes bc i feel like everybodys looking at me or critiquing me i get so stiff that i forget to breath. I hate living like this but this is what its become

  8. I was told the other day that I had "Anxiety Disorder" but it's more "generalized". But my doctor also told me that I've been diagnosed with it for 4 years, and I just never questioned it. Until then.
    My family is going through a lot of changing times and are not sure if my therapy can be covered. Wish me luck ☺️

  9. It just gets in the way of my thought process and makes me forget alot of shit i spend more time worrying about how smart i used to be compared to now but i know its cuz i need to change how i think

  10. Hi, i’m AJ, i got diagnosed when i was 5! i’m 12 now, in the seventh grade, i’m going through a hard time right now. this video was very helpful for my friends

  11. I’m not sure if I have anxiety with the fact that I’m a bit worried to tell somebody. And that it’s “ just in my head” like my mum and dad say about a lot of things I do ( like twitching wheezing etc)

  12. This sounds pretty stupid but i am so anxious of how successful i will be in the future. Last night i had a panic attack about it and it was horrible! I'm so scared that i might not be happy, and i'm also very scared that things will never get better…please tell me that i'm not the only one which gets so anxious about this.

  13. Can some one help me?

    I sometimes feel like I’m in a dream and I’m disconnected from the world. I was outside and I thought I saw the fluff from my dead bunny that was buried a few years back, then blinked and it was gone, but after that I felt like I couldn’t breath + I was light headed. I also THINK I have anxiety (it runs in the family & I have all of the signs in this video, but I don’t want to go self diagnosing myself or anything). I’m just not sure what’s wrong with me, I cancel plans last minute with friends because I feel overwhelmed, I never let anyone in so when I have relationships they feel one sided because I’m always helping my friends with they’re problems but they aren’t helping me with mine.

    Sorry if that was confusing but I’m not sure what’s wrong with me and I hope someone can help, if you can, thank you.

  14. I'm actually too scared to ask my parents to take me for a test for this, I'm more scared of my parents rolling their eyes and telling me to stop it than I am actually being diagnosed with it

  15. I have anxiety and it's really hard to cover it i mean I'm really afraid if people will find out abt my problem and i always try to act normal when I'm dying inside

  16. I’m only ten and this is not very healthy for me, and sometimes I cry in class, and it is hard for me to make it threw the day without calling my mom, she is the only one who can calm me

  17. Sometimes I feel like i'm losing my mind and i know my thoughts are irrational and i want to stop but I don't know how to control it. I've asked my parents plenty of times to get me professional help because I also suffer from depression, I'm not sure if it's because of my anxiety but then it always seems to never get done I was schedule for therapy every Wednesday but it just never happened.Idk why. I feel like me seeing someone for my GAD would have helped a lot. it's just getting worse at this point. I'm almost always getting told from my family that I'm over reacting and it makes me want to jump out my bedroom window because I try so hard to not over think.

  18. I was diagnosed with it a while ago and it’s been pretty tough especially for my parents cause they don’t wanna believe it.

  19. I still don’t know if I have anxiety and I’ve been questioning it for a while now because after most of my social encounters my thoughts linger on them analyzing my every move and wondering what others think about me or I am paranoid and excessively worry about little things that have an extremely low chance of occurring and not only that I have trust issues and never think I can trust others with the fear of them using information against me or them thinking something different of me than they previously did so I don’t really know but there are some days that I can walk around my high school and give a one on one tour to someone without difficulty then on other days I can’t even bring myself to think about talking to a stranger of any sort but I can never present in a class without a constant worry

    Sorry for my long rant I’m just thinking through text I suppose but if anyone could clarify what this really is then let me know because I would never be able to find the confidence to tell my parents about it because of the reasons listed above

  20. i went to my first therapy session last week and got diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (moderate). they gave me a note which i had to give to my school where i’d be given (if allowed by school) 15 extra minutes during a test and i’d have to be isolated from other students, i find it hard to concentrate and to remember on my tests and usually focus more on the time i have left than answering the questions. i’d never considered myself to have anxiety, i knew i was constantly stressed, to the point where i’d miss school, cancel plans, not be able to sleep. but i never considered anxiety.

    ever since i’ve gotten diagnosed, i’ve began to realize how much of my life is actually impacted and how much i’ve been missing out on.

  21. Except benzos are extremely addictive and getting free from them causes more problems than when one started taking them.
    I'd rather advise to speak to a therapist, do some exercises and relaxation. It helps much more than meds.

  22. I get very anxious before i go to sleep. I dont want to wake up for school. So i lay there not being able to go to sleep. My heart palpitations are increasing. But its whatever.

  23. Anxiety gave me Arrhythmia thanks Anxiety you’ve ruined my life. I’ve been diagnosed already with severe anxiety. I feel like I got Arrhythmia from eating too much from my depression and anxiety which my body wasn’t ready for and then which gave me my heart problem.

  24. Ok guys help me out

    I had anxiety in a school where i had friends (no i was not bullied or ill treated and no my parents are happy) . So i insisted my parents to change my school. My school has been changed and now i do have a choice to go back to my previous school as in the new school i have to make new friends which is giving me more anxiety. But my father says no u have to cope in this school. Please tell things that i can help my father to agree with me cuz he thinks im playing around. Yes we have a time with a therapist and pchycatrist. But i cant wait till that long.
    Please help or tell what i can do!!!

  25. Is my story count as a anxiety?
    So i was on youtube scrolling then i seen Luxury Dark (A vid about stalkers) Its really gives me scare or whatever its called and i cant sleep because of thinking that a stalker maybe watching it is very unreasonable and i cant sleep early i always sleep at 12:00am because of that
    Please Reply If Its Counted As It And Is It Mild

  26. Everyday I think that people are making fun of me, also I think a lot about bad things, so is this a sign of anxiety? Also I have trouble sleeping. Please tell me if I have anxiety or not, I really need to know. <3

  27. i went to the doctor and prescribed me with anti- anxiety medicine..but on my third night of taking the medicine i got anxious because of feeling that the medicine might affect my health negatively e.g it might affect my kidneys or something..😞😞 its irritating me so much im so much annoyed with one understands me even my family says bad about my condition that im just overreacting it which the truth im not.😩😩

  28. I fixed my anxiety, social akwardness and some fears i had when i did a 4 month part time job as a construction labourer. I had anxiety saying hi to one person. But this job made me say hi to 100 people every day and work and talk with them. After a month I got used to it and I realised all my fears and akwardness and shyness went away. I even started talking more and had 4 social sircles that I was switching to talk too in breaks. When I went back to my parents and stayed two weeks home my anxiety got back up and i realised the reason why I really had anxiety. It was because I was home all the time and alone mostly on my computer all the time. Which breaks you from social interaction. Not to mention sitting or not exercising all day your nourveousness builds up.
    Guys fight your fears by talking and socializing its scary but if you find a way to do it every day you can cure it

  29. This is my solutions for not to worry small things
    1. I Keep Ignoring that small things that will cause my worriness
    2. At Night i keep talking myself until i fall asleep
    3. Sometimes i calm myself down

    Thats all my solutions to control my anxiety

  30. It's very true that GAD sufferers like myself are competely aware that their worries are excessive and unreasonable. But we can't control them unfortulently.

  31. I went to the GP to talk about anxiety, and she referred me to a counsellor, but I was denied. She said I could talk to someone at school instead, or do an online course. I want to tell my friends about my mental health, but is that a good move since I've not been properly diagnosed?

  32. I have really bad social anxiety. I never leave my house or open my blinds or talk to people just because it makes me so nervous. I can’t ask questions or turn in papers bcs for some reason it makes me nervous. I get nervous when doors are open bcs I’m nervous that someone is going to walk in for some reason. I’m really bad with people just bcs I’m afraid to talk to people. I’m afraid to sleep bcs idk why it just makes me nervous. I’ve always been terrified of talking to people and just recently it’s getting harder to go outside. I can’t focus on school work just because I’m so anxious all the time and it’s terrible. I can’t even walk into an empty library because it feels like everything is watching me and judging me and that’s what it feels like everywhere hence why I don’t go outside much. I struggle with depression too since I was little I’ve struggled a lot with both of those
    (Not easy to deal with and now I’m finally getting help and talking to a therapist)

  33. Can it be bacause of too many anti-gad and your brain is not making enought gaba? If so, how to remove anti gad in your blood?

  34. I have bad GAD very very excessive worrying all the time. I cant help thinking that everybody is always looking at me , and saying horrible things about me . That stems from my bad PTSD . I also have many physical diseases, so 🙄

  35. i don't know if anyone will read this, but i have overcome my anxiety and i had it very very severe, i survived a very rare bonecancer and now im cured from cancer and anxiety, if u read this, comment here and i will make a video, i think i could legit help people get over their anxiety or block it off partly.

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  37. Everyday I get anxiety for things that really shouldn’t be worried about. I’m trying out therapy and hoping I get better because I’m starting to not enjoy the things I would love to do a while back.

  38. me going outside

    They're staring at me shit-

    They're gonna kidnapp me.

    That van carries bodies.

    That man is gonna beat me up-

    What if she's a murderer!

    I'mma get hit by that car.

  39. GAD really sucks especially when people who think they know what it is but don't tell you to just get over it, as if it's some kind of grudge you hold against yourself, it's not something that just goes away.

  40. What does it mean if I keep dreaming about something that happened and I cant stop thinking about it i wake up from cold sweat

  41. Here's what happens with me, every step I take in public gives me anxiety and often my body twitches and sometimes have trouble breathing. Would this be severe or is it something else completely

  42. The minute I have anxiety all I'm thinking is flinging myself out and dying a dramatic or drastic death for all I know all I do sometimes is listen to music and hug my plush lion to bring it down but lemme tell you it almost drives me insane theres literally no joy in my anxiety its dealing with plague or a black of rain following me everywhere n it sucks ☹

  43. Lol was diagnosed when I was like 5, went on pills that made it worse, and so ten years later i still have GAD and tbh fam im hashtag ready to die

  44. I have GAD. The difficulty sleeping is 100% real for me. 95% of my dreams are nightmares, plus Im a lucid dreamer PLUS I have a heart condition which makes me TERRIFFIED of anything medical so… honestly, I hate sleeping.

  45. The constant anxiety and panic makes me feel like I'm constantly going to die.
    I feel an overwhelming sense of dread every single day, and sometimes it gets so bad I feel paralyzed and I can't move or do anything because the anxiety is just so crushing.
    I feel exhausted all of the time, my social life is ruined and I feel like my life is going no where all because I can't stop feeling so worried all the time.
    Everything feels like it's closing in around me, its too overwhelming and I don't know what to do anymore.

  46. I get terrifying anxiety . Especially at night. I found that by breathing deeply and holding my breath on the intake and expanding my diaphram then counting to 30..or how ever long you can ..and very slowly letting breath go ..then melting into the bed really helped me relax. Doing this while listening to peaceful music was even better ..i had to do this several times but its really worth it I just hope this can help someone. I just wanted to share this technique.

  47. I definitely have this…..
    I barely sleep
    Im constantly worried about what might happen once i leave for the bus
    IT ALMOST NEVER LEAVES (only leaves if i have a good dream which is so rare it almost never happens)

  48. Please try mindfullness, look up Jon Kabat Zinn and his mindfullness Practice.
    It helped me a lot in decreasing my anxiety, through some very fundamental Philosophies and Meditation exercises.
    So please for all you out there Waking up and going to bed anxious, Bevölkerung mindfull and Start to breathe conscious.
    Paradoxicaly by not wanting a way out of it.
    you can do it.
    In Love for all you out there suffering, there is Hope.

  49. But can anyone relate to obnoxious thoughts that won’t go away? Like for instance you’ll fixate on having a stroke. Or you’re at a nice dinner, you’re excited. You order the crab legs because you’ve been craving them and you’ve have them thousands of times. Then the crab legs come and right as you’re about to eat them; you suddenly stop and think you may go into anaphylactic shock because you may have somehow developed an allergy to shellfish. Or you’ve had panic attacks in the middle of driving because you thought that maybe today you’ll have a seizure while driving and what will happen when you’re behind the wheel?! So you avoid the highways. Or I don’t know, your heart beat is always elevated and TODAY is the day you’re going to have a panic attack. Docs won’t give you benzos, even though they literally are like Gods miracle pill and for once you sit and feel normal, even if it’s just for a few hours. You’re too nervous to take something daily because you’re already a hypochondriac and terrified of the awful side effects. So instead, wine becomes your favorite handy med because when you’ve had two glasses, you start to FINALLY relax and the noise inside goes to sleep. 😂

  50. Im 15 and i have all the symptoms…who should i tell? I dont know what to do cuz ive tried telling my mom but she said it was nothing.. whenever i think about going out somewhere i get horrible stomach pains and i get all shaky and all through the journey too

  51. My anxiety is starting to take over. I hate going to school and I now have social anxiety because I try my best to avoid drama at school but it continues to follow me. I try to be really nice to people everyday and people always manage to ruin my mood.

  52. Me at 14: I think I have an anxiety problem. I don't feel right literally all of the time.

    My folks: All teenagers go through that. It's just a part of growing up. Stop being so dramatic.

    Me today at 33: …And then they told me, "Oh, all teenagers go through that. Stop being so dramatic." Meanwhile, my social life is nonexistent because I have severe trust issues and can't retain interpersonal relationships for shit, I can barely function at my job, I have medical bills that aren't getting any lower, and I feel like I'm dying everyday.

    My psychiatrist: So, did you need me to update that prescription for the Ativan?

    Me: Yes. 😐

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